SYDNEY, Australia - Two Australian schoolboys severely injured in the White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand on Monday have died in hospital.
Ben Hollander, 16, and his brother Matthew Hollander, 13, were visiting the volcano site together with their parents and 20 other Australians, nine people from the U.S., 5 New Zealanders, four Germans, 2 Chinese, two from the UK and 1 from Malaysia, when the volcano erupted.
The Hollander boys' parents, Martin and Barbara Hollander are still missing.
Ben and Matthew were students at Knox Grammar School in Wahroonga, on Sydney's upper north shore, which their father also attended.
"It is with the greatest sadness that I can confirm that Matthew Hollander (Year 8) and Berend (known at 'Ben') Hollander (Year 10) have passed away in hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the White Island volcano eruption," Knox Grammar's headmaster Scott James said in a letter to parents.
"Please take some time to reflect on the lives of Matthew and Ben and this devastating loss for our community."
"Matthew was a vibrant member of the Class of 2023. He was involved in Cadets and representing the School in Basketball, Squash and Debating. He was elected as a Mentor Representative in 2018/19. Matthew had a close circle of friends and was popular amongst his peers. He was always enthusiastic about life and was actively involved in school and year group activities," the Knox Grammar headmaster said.
"Ben was actively engaged in sports and co-curricular activities at Knox, developing a passion for AFL, Cadets, CRU and his biggest passion, Baseball. He had a great love for the outdoors and camp. Ben was a compassionate and enthusiastic student, with an interest in software design. Ben's engaging smile and quirky sense of humour made him a good mate to his close group of friends and a welcome member to every classroom."
The death toll so far is eight, 7 of whom were Australians.
Ten other Australians, injured in the tragedy are being flown to Sydney for specialist care.
3 of those arrived at Sydney's Concord Hospital, and one at North Sydney's Royal North Shore Hospital on Wednesday night.
Some of these have injuries which health officials say are life-threatening.
Many people visiting White Island remain unaccounted for and have been designated as missing.